“I can live without electricity,” I said.
“Yeah, Mike, me too.” Kyle sighed. Licking his lips, he cast his eyes over the posters that cover the wall of our flat. Wonder Woman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Amy Pond from Doctor Who and Florence Pugh as Black Widow stared down at us.
Even though the electricity lines had been fine after the alien invasion, fires had crippled the whole city since.
“Yesterday’s pizza?” I asked, needing something to do.
“Sounds good.” Kyle rubbed his hands together. “Damn it’s cold without the heating on. Hopefully they sort this soon.”
I fetched a plate with cold pizza from the kitchen counter. It was piled up on a plate I’d cleaned especially.
“Toss a coin to your Witcher,” I sang. I always get confused during the corus and just loop around until I get bored or Kyle tells me to stop. Cold cheese had turned rubbery on the surface of our liberated meal. Saved from the fires of a burning building, the cold pepper tasted all the sweeter because we earned it. Trying to cut it with the sword I had taken from a dead alien the night before had been messy. My dish washing spree began with washing the tomato sauce off the blade of the sword of the knight from the moon.
“Oh valley of plenty,” Kyle joined me, singing the anthem of a song at the top of our lungs. Neighbours banged on their ceiling, probably with brooms. We huffed into the sofa. Chewing cold pizza in the pale light of the morning without Netflix to watch wasn’t the romantic off grid lifestyle films we watched painted it as.
“Comics?” Kyle asked. He nodded to a bookshelf stuffed with geeky goodness.
“Graphic novels,” I corrected him, nodding. I held up a Spawn collection and Marvel’s Civil War. Kyle pointed to the later, cleaning his fingers with a wet wipe from a long lost Indian takeaway and tossing it onto the coffee table. We lost ourselves in ink and illustration for half an hour.
“I stole one of those swords too,” Kyle said, raising a suggestive eyebrow.
“En garde!” I cried, dropping pizza crust which was long forgotten by the time it hit the floor.
I’ll admit now that having a sword fight in our own flat was a bad idea. Hands up. The couch took a slash, bleeding sponge. I broke a plate with cold pizza on it and had to throw both out. With them went the sock I had been wearing. Luckily for me I have a dozen identical black socks. Holes in the toes or heel distinguish some.
We fought our way out the door. A truce was called while I locked the door.
The clang of metal on metal woke the warrior spirits within us. The geekish voices in our heads egged us on as we hacked and swung. Before long the blades had knicks and dents in the blades but we were having the time of our lives.
Another truce held as we took the lift down to the car park beneath the apartment. It smells of piss, but it's easier. Don’t judge. I always push the buttons with my sleeve over my fingers because someone rubbed dog crap over one a while ago and I doubt anyone seriously washed it. A used condom sat in that lift for six months before crawling out on its own.
Bystanders watched, called the cops or recorded us on their phones as we clashed like titans in matching Halo Reach hoodies. Kyle was definitely going easy on me. He’s a vampire so kicking my ass should have been easy but I’m grateful. He didn’t have to let me stab him though.
He swung high as I danced forward with the grace of a camel on rollerblades. My sword pierced his chest. The scream of a girl who had been recording us for TikTok pierced my ears as I let go of the handle.
Kyle dropped his sword, blood pouring from his mouth as he looked at me. He winked. Spraying red in violent coughs, he stumbled towards the teen who influenced other teens by dancing for those in need to the tune of rap music she couldn’t name.
Screaming theatrically, she threw the pink diamante encrusted phone into the air and ran as fast as her high heels would carry her. I stifled a smirk as she tripped. If you're ever likely to run for your life, don’t wear heels that are half your height. I learnt that the hard way.
“New phone?” Kyle asked. He pinged the sword that had emerged from his back.
“Pink’s not my colour. Are you okay?” I asked him.
“It hurts a bit, but I’m a vampire. As long as it's not wood through the heart I’ll be fine.”
“We could have a lot of fun with this,” I said, grinning.
“Great minds think alike.” He smiled, blood ran down his chin. He pocketed the pink phone.
We walked into town, past the devastation of the alien invasion the night before.
“They’re back,” I screamed. I pointed to Kyle with the sword through his stomach. “Run!”
Chaos. People ran screaming one way or another. Police with guns run in the direction we’d come from. I realised I probably didn’t want to run into those cops again.
Kyle says that only some vampires can turn into smoke. As he poofed into deadly black mist, the sword dropped to the ground. His body had soaked up the blood from it. I picked up my weapon and looked around. He was gone. The shadow vanished over a rooftop. My guess was that he’d gone to feed. Getting stabbed was bound to make you peckish.
A screen through a broken window flickered into life as I pondered the meaning of life with a sword in my hand. The meaning of my life at that moment was to go home and soak up the internet's distracting goodness. After almost three hours unplugged, I was done.
I barely noticed when Kyle returned. I was on a deep dive learning about North Korea’s ruling family after reading an article on the BBC News website about the secretive state’s nuclear weapons. I’d wanted to know how many countries had nuclear weapons. I got to that after watching the scene from Doctor Strangelove where the guy rides the bomb as it gets dropped out of the plane. All of that because Google autofilled when I typed in Doctor Strange. Marvelous. Thank you, internet. Never desert me again.